Skip main navigation

What we know

An overview of key parts of the puzzle that shed light on what we currently know about the life and time of Homo floresiensis

Modern archaeological science addresses many questions about the mystery of the Hobbit.

Here is an overview of key parts of the puzzle that shed light on what we currently know about the life and times of Homo floresiensis:

  • Fossil remains at Liang Bua have been dated to between about 100, 000 and 60, 000 years old
  • Artefacts have been dated to as early as 190, 000 years ago (at the back of the cave) through to about 50, 000 years ago (nearer the entrance)
  • The Hobbit likely lived at the site from around 190, 000 years ago
  • It is thought that the Hobbit survived until as late as about 50, 000 years ago
  • The Hobbit is definitely a new human species
  • The type specimen (original skeleton) of the Hobbit is about 106 cm tall, but other specimens of hobbits found in the cave are shorter
  • A volcanic ash layer was identified above where hobbits are thought to have gone extinct
  • Hobbits lived with a whole range of animals that we no longer see around us today (e.g. Stegodon, giant Marabou stork, vulture)
  • Modern humans were passing through Southeast Asia en route to Australia at about the same time that the hobbits went extinct (50, 000 years ago).
“…we’ve got this tantalising mystery, still, about the hobbits going extinct at the same time as a few different events were occurring. But the fact that modern humans were arriving at about that time might be the reason that the hobbits went extinct. And that’s something we are really pursuing now and into the future” (Prof. Bert Roberts, geochronologist)
This article is from the free online

Homo Floresiensis Uncovered: The Science of ‘the Hobbit’

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now